Binance Founder CZ Ordered to Stay in U.S. Until Sentencing

The ongoing saga surrounding Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, better known as CZ, has taken a dramatic turn as a federal judge in Seattle has ordered him to remain in the United States until his sentencing in February 2024. The decision stems from concerns over the potential flight risk posed by Zhao if he were to return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Seattle District Court Judge Richard Jones made the ruling on December 7, citing the significant risk of flight given Zhao’s substantial wealth and property abroad, coupled with his lack of ties to the United States. The judge expressed agreement with federal prosecutors who argued that securing Zhao’s return would be challenging, considering his extensive assets and family residing in the UAE.

The decision follows Zhao’s guilty plea to money laundering charges on November 21, with a sentencing date set for February 23, 2024. Notably, Zhao has committed to not appealing any potential sentence of up to 18 months, the maximum penalty he faces for the charges.

In his ruling, Judge Jones emphasized Zhao’s familial connections in the UAE and his apparent privileged status in the country as contributing factors to the flight risk assessment. The judge underscored the absence of clear and convincing evidence from Zhao demonstrating that he is unlikely to flee if permitted to return to Dubai, where he currently resides.

This decision follows Judge Jones accepting Zhao’s guilty plea on December 6 but withholding an immediate ruling on his return to Dubai, indicating a cautious approach in assessing the potential risks associated with Zhao’s departure from the U.S.

The legal proceedings surrounding CZ Zhao, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency space, have garnered substantial attention, with this recent order further intensifying the spotlight on his case. As the community awaits his sentencing in February, the implications of this decision reverberate within both the crypto industry and the broader financial landscape.

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